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Ackermann backs Woodward for England selection

By Online Editors

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While Hurricanes loose forward Brad Shields has grabbed headlines after putting his hand up for England selection, Gloucester head coach Johan Ackermann believes his side houses another Kiwi that Eddie Jones should take a closer look at.

Ackermann believes that Shields’ former Hurricanes teammate Jason Woodward has earned the right to be in the conversation for selection after guiding Gloucester to the Challenge Cup final.

The 27-year-old was born in New Zealand and represented his homeland at the U20 level, but is eligible for England thanks to his London-raised grandmother.

“I think he is definitely heading for that level,” Ackermann said following Gloucester’s Challenge Cup semi-final win over Newcastle, where Woodward was named Man of the Match.

“He will grab it with both hands,” Ackermann continued.

“Like any player, you have got your work-ons and stuff, but if you look at him as a player who has got X-factor and he is versatile.

“He can play on both wings, 13 and he enjoys fullback. His skill, the fact he can off-load in the tackle, he has got an abundance of speed and he is great under the high ball.

“He tries things. And sometimes the other players don’t even know what he is going to try, but it is good to know he has got that freedom to try it.”

Ackermann believes that fullback is where Woodward plays best, meaning he would compete with the likes of Mike Brown and Anthony Watson.

“I think fullback is his best position at the moment, I would say. It is the place I think we get the most out of him.”

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